Where My Heart Used To Beat - Sebastian Faulks

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Where My Heart Used To Beat - Sebastian Faulks

Post by Graham on Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:34 am

Faulks is one of the few writers who can not just move me to tears but make me feel it is my own life I am crying for. He reaches right into your heart and squeezes. Like Disclaimer this is also a Sunday Times Bestseller and two more different books it is difficult to imagine. The story is told in the form of reminiscences by Hendricks. Now entering old age, he is invited to a Mediterranean island by Pereira, also a doctor, who has read his work and been sufficiently impressed to wish him to be his literary executor. There is an echo here of John Fowles’ The Magus with Pereira pulling the strings but this time benevolently. Under his promptings the lacunae in Hendricks’ memory of his past are gradually resolved. They concern the fate of his father, killed during the great war, the manner of his death unknown to him and never talked about by his mother, but which Pereira may be able to shed light on. Then also there are Hendricks’ own experiences in the second world war and most poignant of all his lost love Louisa whom he meets in Naples where he is recovering from his wounds. The text flits seamlessly between the present, in this case the seventies when Hendricks’ rather lonely life is interrupted by Pereira’s invitation, and the various events that formed him. Like a good actor whose own personality he sublimates into the part, Faulks technique is transparent. I am never truly aware of how he is doing it, but he absorbs me and sweeps me along with the narrative. I am sure he would reward closer study if we aspire to write anything with more meaning than a thriller.

For me Faulks is in the pantheon along with McEwan and Hustvedt. One word of warning. It is, like life, inestimably sad, the good bits to be remembered and treasured. Keep the tissues handy.

Graham
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